4 Shoulder Injuries to Worry About

Your shoulders are big joints that are used constantly throughout the day. Unlike your elbows or knees, your shoulders have a full range of motion; the motion makes our lives easier, but it gives much more potential for injuries. Shoulder replacement surgery can be a possibility for the following injuries that result from using your shoulders often.

Playing through the pain

  1. Swimmer’s Shoulder

This is the most common shoulder injury by far that requires shoulder replacement surgery. Swimmer’s shoulder is most often associated with swimmers, hence the name, but it can be common in any profession that requires constant upward motions in the shoulders.  That means painters, construction workers, and even bodybuilders are at risk of this injury due to improper use.

  1. Rotator Cuff and Labrum Injuries

A rotator cuff injury is another common injury that is associated with sports that require a jerking motion of the shoulder. Baseball is probably the most common sport that causes this injury because of the actual motion of throwing the ball. For players who throw extremely often, like a pitcher, the risk of rotator cuff injuries greatly increases. It will require surgery if it causes constant pain and inflammation, which will get worse with age.

The labrum is another common sports related injury that occurs in a piece of cartilage that is connected to the shoulder socket. It can sometimes occur in conjunction with the rotator cuff injuries because they are associated with the same movements. In theory, a baseball player can suffer from both rotator cuff injuries and a torn labrum.

  1. Arthritis

Arthritis is a constant threat to a large part of the population. It is most often problematic when it affects the hips or knees, but the shoulders are another risk factor for arthritis problems. When the range of motion gets reduced to a certain point, the joints will have to be replaced with surgery in order to fix the problem.

  1. Fractures

Everyone knows that fractures are cracks in the bones themselves, but what they don’t know is that they can be caused all over your body without noticing. Fractures not only occur from direct injury, but also from overuse that causes strain on the bone to the point of breaking. These cracks are not as noticeable because they are tiny, even microscopic.

The most obvious symptom from micro fractures comes from reduced movement as they heal over time. They are left to heal improperly because the person does not know they are there. Shoulder replacement surgery will be necessary to ensure movement is restored.

Your shoulders have a wide range of movement and they are required for nearly everything in your everyday life. If you are experiencing pain when you move your shoulder a certain way, or if you find yourself unable to move your shoulder with as much freedom as you could before, you should consult an orthopedic surgeon. Shoulder pain can often be remedied with physical therapy, but sometimes, surgery is the only way to truly heal the joint.

Shoulder replacement surgery sounds intimidating, but you will be thankful afterward for your restored motion and reduced pain.

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3 Facts about Total Knee Replacement

A total knee replacement can seem like a drastic surgical procedure. The reality is different, however; knee replacements are relatively commonplace. Your doctor can guide you through the whole process, but you should keep in mind the following critical information.

There is a stigma that replacing your knee leads to years of pain after the surgery and reduces your ability to use it normally. But knee replacement no longer means you will not be able to do the things you love. As a matter of fact, knee replacement has come a long way in the past few years. Here are just a few facts that can help you recover the right way.

  1. Follow the Therapist’s Orders

The most common problem that hinders recovery from a total knee replacement occurs when the patient ignores or avoids the physical therapist’s recovery plan. Following a surgery—when you have healed correctly—you will have to exercise and use the joint regularly to make sure it no longer hurts after healing.

3 Facts about Total Knee Replacement

The physical therapist will prescribe a regimen of stretches that you must do in your home. The most difficult part of following the physical therapist’s orders is due to the pain the stretches might cause. During your knee surgery recovery, you will not regularly use your knee. In spite of the pain, you have to keep using your knee so it no longer hurts as you move around.

  1. The End Goal is to Relieve Pain

Total knee replacement has been a regular surgery since the 1960s. The surgery has progressed substantially since then. Nowadays, it is one of the most common joint replacement procedures in the United States.

The goal of knee replacement surgery is not to cause pain but to relieve it. When you are suffering from chronic knee pain, replacing your knee will be one of your doctor’s recommendations. While the stigma around constant pain after a replacement is strong, if you follow the recovery procedures, you should be in great shape.

  1. The Majority Experience No Pain Afterward

Despite the stigma surrounding total knee replacement, there is evidence that the overwhelming majority of those who go through with the surgery experience a drastic reduction in pain. The key to avoiding pain is to make sure you engage in low-impact activities after the surgery.

Running and jogging should be out of the question. However, you can still engage in even more beneficial cardio such as swimming or biking. These sports are better for you anyway. The idea behind engaging in these sports is to reduce wear on the knee replacement and, therefore, reduce the pain that results from the surgery.

A total knee replacement can seem scary to many people, but problems such as arthritis can become extremely painful. Replacing the knee is a proven method to help relieve pain due to knee problems and help you get active again. Despite the pain reduction, you should still pay attention to recovery instructions and engage in low-impact activities afterward.

Facts about the Most Common, Serious Foot Injuries

Our feet get a workout almost every day. Simply walking around puts stress on our feet, even more so when running or participating in athletics. The potential for foot injury is high, and foot problems are among the most frequent orthopedic complaints. In fact, informal polling has shown that 74 percent of all Americans have experienced some form of foot injury during their lives. Here are some facts about the most common serious foot injuries suffered by Americans, including their symptoms and treatment.

Taking an X-ray of a patients foot

Broken Ankle

A broken ankle is actually a fracture of one of multiple bones that make up the ankle joint: the tibia, the fibula, and the talus. The break can be caused by any number of different traumas including automobile accidents, twists, falls, and workplace accidents.

Symptoms include severe pain and an inability to bear weight on the affected foot. Bruising and swelling also occur, and in some cases there may be a visible deformity of the ankle. X-rays and other imaging may be necessary to definitely diagnosis a broken ankle.

An orthopedic surgeon can advise on the best course of treatment. Many ankle fractures can be treated in about six weeks in a cast. In more severe cases, however, surgery is necessary. This usually involves the installation of hardware to fuse the broken bones and hold them in position.

Lisfranc Fracture

A Lisfranc fracture is a fracture and dislocation of the metatarsal bones, located in the midfoot. One or more metatarsals is shifted out of place in relation to the talus, or anklebone. This type of injury is sometimes seen in vehicle accidents but also occurs frequently when a heavy object is dropped onto the midfoot.

It’s very easy to mistake a Lisfranc fracture for a bruise or sprain. If a Lisfranc fracture is suspected, an orthopedic surgeon should be consulted, as these injuries can be difficult to see on X-rays. For injuries where the bones are non-displaced, or still in their proper positions, a few weeks in a cast will usually suffice. Again, more severe cases may require surgery to insert a metal plate with screws or pins to hold it in position.

Frostbite

Frostbite is the result of prolonged exposure to low temperatures. The fingers and toes are especially susceptible. Ice crystals form in the soft tissues, causing damage. Symptoms include itching, pain, and blisters, progressing to numbness and a waxy appearance to the skin.

In mild cases, simply rewarming the toes is sufficient, and there is no permanent damage. However, severe instances may require surgical removal of the dead tissue and even amputation of the toes.

Gangrene

Gangrene is not really an injury in itself but is the result of infection or impaired blood supply. Diabetics are particularly vulnerable and should check their feet daily for wounds or suspicious areas.

Gangrene is dead tissue, usually affecting the toes first and then progressing up the foot. Again, surgical removal of the diseased tissue, along with antibiotics, is often the first line of treatment. In more progressive cases, amputation of the toes or foot may be required.

Diagnosis to Rehabilitation: Stages of Bone Fractures Treatment

Depending on the severity of a fracture, doctors might need to perform various procedures to aid the healing processes of bones. Bones heal themselves in different phases, and doctors, too, have a list of stages they go through when helping a patient recover from fractured bones. 

When a doctor tends to fractured bones, the first thing he does is to diagnose. There are several things that may affect the treatment process, including the age of the patient, the location of the fractured bone, and the extent of the open wounds. 

The treatment for a fractured rib is different to a broken arm, as ribs have the potential of harming internal organs, while arms have the potential of harming muscles. Bones, much like any other body part, can get complicated by infections so it’s important that germs and viruses from open wounds must be treated immediately. 

The second stage is to secure the bones, and keep them from moving in order to accelerate the process. This is done through casts, braces, or slings. The third stage is to ensure that the bones are aligned by using ropes and pulleys. 

In severe cases, doctors would have to operate on the fracture to remove foreign objects, add more immobilization security like rods, screws, or pins, and even replace some parts with artificial ones, if needed. 

The final stage is rehabilitation, where the muscles, after a long time of inactivity, are slowly exercised before going back to normal activities.